David Aposhian, operating as Cambridge Design & Development, Somerville Housing Group and Eusocial Development, LLC, has been building in Cambridge and Somerville as well as surrounding areas for over 25 years.
We have evolved a signature style that has been most recently applied in the crafting of small communities that share a sense of place derived from good design, an intelligent blend of natural materials and creative vision.
Our names are simple and declarative.
Cambridge Design & Development
Cambridge Design & Development is a concise statement of what we do—construction has always been a means to an end. We design and develop interesting spaces. And we have never advertised ourselves as a construction company or contractor for hire.
Somerville Housing Group
For a number of years as Somerville Housing Group we assembled a number of different junkyards in both Cambridge and Somerville, cleaned them up, and as Somerville’s first Planned Unit Development (PUD)1 built 131 residential units, a 252-car five-story parking garage, and about one-quarter of an acre of open green space accessible to the public. It made sense to define the initiative by its Somerville location, not referring to “Cambridge” as there remained some competition between the two towns.
Eusocial Development, LLC
People are often curious about this name. In Eusocial Development, LLC we enjoy a flight of creative license. Eusocial is intended to convey an extremely “responsible”, altruistic approach to the construction, maintenance and defense of a common space, truly communal—commune-istic in its original sense. We hope that humans take their built environment that seriously. The term eusocial was probably coined by a sociobiologist, maybe even E.O. Wilson,2 in the 1970’s or 80’s. It refers to a certain type of social insect wherein two very noteworthy traits flourish. Like bees,3 given individuals will often spend their lives working to further the interest of the group, even to the point of propagating genes. More relevant here is that they will put the interest of the actual hive—the “structure” itself—above their own interests and welfare. The world might be a better place if we as a species exhibited some of that.
- A Planned Unit Development, or PUD, is a project large enough and in a sensitive enough location that municipalities believe it is in their interest to essentially throw out the zoning code, and negotiate almost all aspects of the development with the developer. Usually increased density, both in terms of number of units per square foot of land and number of square feet of living area result in return for the town or city receiving some open space that is open to the public, and very often other amenities, such as public parking or just more greenspace. Usually environmentally friendly design and a more sophisticated transportation plan are part of the deal as well. We wound up building a very expensive 5-story parking structure to keep autos away from our living space and landscape, and prohibiting our buyers from parking on Somerville Streets. We created about 1/5 of an acre of public space, and still need to construct more. We were working with 3 acres of junkyards.
- E.O. Wilson was one of the best professors I ever had. Essentially, he created the field of sociobiology, and is to it as Freud to psychology or Darwin to evolution. A warm, kind Southerner born in Alabama, he had the misfortune to be one of the first people to suggest that there may be a link between inherited biology and behavior and intelligence. Probably because of his Southern roots he was viciously attacked as a racist by some including the now-deceased and now-less-respected populizer of science, his fellow Harvard biology professor Stephen Jay Gould. He has also written about the great interconnected web of life on earth, in Consilience and other books.
- There are also some mammals and vertebrates who exhibit some aspects of eusocial behavior. Beavers, although they are not considered eusocial animals, certainly show some of the behavior in their dam building.